Confucianism has been described as a way of governing that developed from the traditions taught by the philosopher Confucius. The ideas behind Confucianism pursue individual unity which can be extended to the coexistence in families and the society to build a harmonious well- governed community. Confucius visualized right government that would be guided by the ideologies of Li. Confucius had the belief that governments should put more emphasis on the philosophies of Li rather than using severe punishments while governing. It has been argued that the ideas of Confucius only look at the individual level. Confucius students were on loyalty, and their ambitions were to become prominent government officials but to do so they had first to enter a ruler's public service. Confucius proposed that a superior official should be obeyed because of their ethical rectitude but the leader had to possess good individual governing qualities. The Confucianism theory teaches more on harmonious governance where Confucius illustrated that strict punishment does not guarantee total submission. This paper explores the ideas of Confucianism and how they supported virtue governance in the old ways.
One fundamental concept of the ideologies of the Confucianism theory is that, for anyone to govern others one must govern oneself by the universally recognized order. The ideas further illustrate that since the Kings has power over all the subjects, their personal virtues should have a beneficent influence all over their kingdoms. Researchers have related the concept to situations where the leaders do not have to interfere with their subjects' daily functions which limit them from tampering with the lives of individual citizens; he records ``Confucius said, there are three things against which a gentleman is on his guard. In his youth, before his blood and vital humor have settled down, he is on his guard against lust reaching his prime when the vital humor have hardened he is on his guard against strife.Having reached old age, when the blood and vital humor are already decaying, he is on guard against variance (Confucius: The Analects, 15). The question is why the ideologies emphasize more of personal virtues for individuals who are supposed to lead many people.
The work of Confucius was mainly directed towards achieving good governance in the traditional Chinese kingdoms. Until many years later after the death of Confucius, his ideas and principles of governance were widely used though some kingdoms were against the ideologies. They argued that law and order cannot be implemented without strict punishments. The initial stages of Confucius ideas began with learning, "Confucius said, there are three things that a gentleman fears: he fears the will of heaven, he fears great men, and he fears the words of the divine sages. The small man does not know the will of the heaven and so does not fear it. He treats great people with contempt, and scoffs at the words of the divine savages (Confucius: The Analects, 15). Through the quote, Confucius illustrates the life of a leader which if followed would achieve moral goodness vital for the ruling. The process also describes the development of obedient traits by the subjects and children to their parents. Moral values are important to any government setting if all the laws set are to be followed.
The story of Confucius is an interesting one on how he was treated and then later how his ideas were to be adopted as the official state ideologies was a great achievement to his name. After the abandonment of the Legalism, Confucianism was adopted by many governments in China, "the gentleman has nine cares. In seeing that he is careful to see clearly, in hearing he is careful to hear distinctly, by his looks he is careful to be kindly; in his manner to be respectful, in his words to be loyal, in his work to be diligent. When in doubt he is careful to ask for information; when angry he has the care for consequences and when he sees a chance of gain, he thinks carefully whether the pursuit of it would be consonant with the right(Confucius: The Analects, 15). The quote illustrates the efforts of Confucius in trying to re- establish goodness that had been eroded in most kingdoms of China. Confucius was trying to reintroduce real governing ways that most kings had ignored. Some kings that Confucius talks about were deceptive; their appearances in the public did not portray the actual self as they went against the ways and ideas of ancient kings.
In summary, the ideas of Confucianism can be traced back to years before Confucius came to be born. The principles of benefit, gain, order, and propriety provide concrete guidelines to various human actions. Further, the theory tries to explain that the government can only be considered good if it can maintain the confidence of the subjects, economic, and military sufficiency. The power through which people are governed should express morally upright governance that is characterized by the art of rulers being honest. Even for the leaders, personal virtues such as kindness, honesty, rectitude, and wisdom come before everything else. As explained by Confucius, personal growth is paramount for political leaders and good governance. Confucianism emphasizes on governance by virtue by all the leaders.
World History: A Collection of Primary Sources; Confucius: The Analects, 15
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